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Representative Clift Tsuji passes away at the age of 75


Representative Clift Tsuji speaking on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Joseph Souki during the dedication ceremony of the new Hilo International Airport Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Station Friday, July 29, 2016.

Representative Clift Tsuji speaking on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Joseph Souki during the dedication ceremony of the new Hilo International Airport Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Station Friday, July 29, 2016.

Honolulu, Hawaii – Hawaii Rep. Clift Tsuji, 75, passed away at the Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu today (Nov 15).

Tsuji represented House District 2 including Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Pana‘ewa and Waiākea.

The family has requested privacy at this time. Services are pending.

Tsuji was born on Jan. 20, 1941 and raised in the Big Island’s plantation town of Papaikou. He is a 1959 graduate of Hilo High School and completed his post-secondary degrees at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Washington, Pacific Coast Banking School.

Rep. Clift Tsuji was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and was chairman of the Agriculture Committee. Among his many awards he was named the Hawaii Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year Award in 2015.

Tsuji served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959-1965.

He was also active with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, Hawaii Island Japanese Community Association, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Kumamoto Kenjin Kai.

Statement by Governor David Y. Ige

Representative Clift Tsuji was a quiet man with a big heart who had the courage to stand for his convictions. He was a passionate leader and a vigorous advocate for the Hilo community. His legacy of service will be remembered by his constituents and all Hawaii Island residents. He was a personal friend, and I am going to miss his presence at the State Capitol. Dawn and I send our condolences to his sons, Ryan and Ashley.

House Speaker Joseph Souki on the passing of Rep. Clift Tsuji

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Rep. Tsuji. Clift who was a great public servant and a close personal friend,” said House Speaker Joseph Souki. “He loved his family, Hawaii and the communities he represented. He will be greatly missed.”

“Our condolences and aloha go out to his friends and family from everyone at the legislature.”

Lt. Governor Tsutsui’s Statement on the Passing of State Representative Tsuji

My deepest condolences go out to the ohana of Representative Clift Tsuji during this very difficult time. Clift leaves behind a legacy as a strong voice for the people and a staunch advocate for Hawaii’s agriculture community. I will always remember Clift’s booming voice coupled with his friendly and approachable nature. Those who were fortunate to have known him will also remember his kindness and the aloha he shared with the countless people he touched. He will be missed.

State Senate statement on the passing of Rep. Clift Tsuji

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Rep. Clift Tsuji. He will be remembered for his hard work supporting Hawaii’s agriculture, his commitment to the residents of his district, and his warm and ready smile. On behalf of the Hawaii State Senate, our deepest condolences to the Tsuji family.”

Statement by Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi on the passing of Representative Clift Tsuji

It is with great sadness to learn that Representative Clift Tsuji has passed away. As a Hilo native, I knew Clift and his commitment to his community and public service. Two weeks ago we spoke about his district and he expressed his support for the educational progress made. Sincere condolences go out to his family during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed.

Statement from Mayor Billy Kenoi on the passing of Representative Clift Tsuji

“Representative Clift Tsuji was an honorable statesman with a sincere passion for service. He brought his best to his leadership role, earning the respect of his colleagues in the House of Representatives and in the community he represented. He was a consummate gentleman and a role model for the next generation of public servants. We thank him for his service in the defense of our nation, and for his service to our community. Our condolences and aloha go out to his family. He will be sorely missed by the Hawai’i Island community.”

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii State Supreme Court

“On behalf of the Judiciary, I extend our sincere thoughts and condolences to Representative Clift Tsuji’s family. Representative Tsuji was a genuinely kind and caring person, and an outstanding public servant who represented the people of Hilo with pride. He was also a strong supporter of the new courthouse in Kona, and the work being done by pro bono attorneys who volunteer their time providing legal assistance to the community. We thank Representative Tsuji for his service and dedication to the people of Hawaii.”

Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Third Circuit

“We are saddened by the news of the passing of Representative Clift Tsuji. He has always been a big supporter of the Third Circuit and has attended numerous Judiciary- related functions because of his genuine care for people and our community. We appreciate all his support throughout the years. We will miss him and send our condolences to his family.”

Senator Hirono Statement on the Passing of State Representative Clift Tsuji

“Clift Tsuji represented the Hilo community that he grew up in, and his drive to build a better future was evident by his actions. Clift brought a wealth of experience and over 30 years of business acumen to the Hawaii State House of Representatives. His voice on behalf of agriculture across the state will be missed. I considered Clift a friend, and my thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

JCCIH  president’s  statement  on  the  passing  of  Rep.  Clift  Tsuji  
“The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hawaii is deeply saddened by the news of Rep. Clift Tsuji’s passing,” said Russell Arikawa, president of the Chamber.

“He was truly a public servant, and a long-time member of our Chamber. He served our country in the 442nd Infantry from 1959 to 1965, and our beloved Hawaii Island as State Representative since 2004,” Arikawa said. Rep. Tsuji was a strong supporter of agriculture and economic diversity for our island and state and as a Chamber, we counted on him to support our island in the Legislature. Our hearts and prayers are with his family; his genuine, friendly spirit will truly be missed,” he added.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Statement on the Passing of Rep. Clift Tsuji

“Today, Hawaiʻi lost a dedicated public servant. Born and raised in Papaikou, Representative Clift Tsuji served the people of Hawaiʻi Island throughout his life. After graduating from Hilo High School, Rep. Tsuji served as a U.S. Army Reservist with the 442nd Infantry out of Hilo, and continued to serve Hawaiʻi Island in various community organizations, as a successful businessman, and as a representative for the people of Keaukaha, Panaewa, Waiakea, and parts of Hilo. As chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Tsuji helped champion legislation to fight invasive species and strengthen our biosecurity. I saw Rep. Tsuji recently at the Hilo Veterans Parade and, as usual, he was full of aloha, as he welcomed me to the community he loved so much. Today, my heart is with Rep. Tsuji’s family, friends, and all whose lives he touched.”

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